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In Split Decision Supervisors Vote to Move Forward on Stream Bank Project

Written By Editor on 5/19/14 | 5/19/14

The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors voted to move forward on the AECom stream bank project Friday afternoon after two hours of contentious and emotional debate resulted in a split decision on the issue, where a majority of supervisors were opposed but those in favor carried the weighted votes necessary for passage.

Debate focused on a previously tabled motion offered by Middleburgh Town Supervisor Jim Buzon that authorized the county to spend an additional $1.276 million in supplemental funding on the project, which is estimated to be presently $2.6 million over budgeted costs and has been marred by allegations of misconduct. 

Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone argued that it was unreasonable to ask taxpayers to shoulder the financial burden of a project that was originally suppose to have no county share. Furthermore, Jefferson Town Supervisor Sean Jordan questioned the wisdom of committing to additional costs without knowing a finite final price tag for the project. 

However, warning his fellow legislators on the risks of not moving forward on the stream revitalization project, Mr. Buzon urged supervisors that, "we have to bite the bullet and take on the expense," while Cobleskill Town Supervisor Leo McAllister commented that board members had to sharpen their pencils and do what needed to be done. 

Board members were faced with what Esperance Town Supervisor Earl VanWormer called a double edged sword, as the County Attorney's office estimated the county's risk of exposure if they dropped the contract to be approximately $8 million, while County Treasurer Bill Cherry warned that if the county took on the expense and bonded the project that it was, "likely that you will exceed the tax cap."

In the end, nine of sixteen supervisors would end up opposing the motion, while the weighted votes of the remaining seven ensured its final passage. Commenting that the county board decided to move forward without a finite number, Mr. Jordan quipped that, "we look like fools," just moments after the motion's passage.

Remarking that he couldn't, "believe that the Board voted to spend millions of dollars that the county doesn't have," Blenheim Town Supervisor Shawn Smith told the Schoharie News that AECom unjustifiably increased their price and took advantage of the county. Mr. Smith would later add that he believes, "our residents will be very disappointed in the board's failure to hold them accountable."
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Unknown said...

i say if it was the supervisor fault you up your taxes to pay it didn't do your jobs right so fault falls on all of you...the job needs to be done, if not, it happen again you all need to pay either way..

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